A Kentucky Fried Chicken ad, airing in South Africa, of what proved to be a traumatic incident for Australian surfer Mick Fanning and his family, is drawing fire for being “disrespectful.”
And while shark attacks are nothing to make light of, critics may argue that the sport of surfing is dangerous in and of itself.
The ad is a parody of a real shark attack that occurred in July during a competition, when Fanning was knocked off his surfboard by a huge shark. The three-time world champion surfer punched and kicked the shark to keep it at bay until a lifeguard on a jet ski rescued him.
All the while, his terrified mother, Elizabeth Osborne, watched the drama unfold on live television.
“They’ve put a lookalike in the video,” Osbourne said of the KFC ad, according to the Sydney Morning Herald. “It really brings back a lot of trauma for everybody who has been attacked by a shark. Some families have had fatalities and some people are still absolutely scarred without limbs.
“It’s disrespectful to them and Mick is not at all happy with that.”
In the ad, an actor portraying Fanning encounters a shark and is then seen riding a wave holding the beast over his head.
The World Surf League, the sport’s governing body, is considering legal action against the ad, according to Osborne.
They may want to proceed with caution, as some may reciprocate by pushing for a ban on televising dangerous sports — like surfing.
KFC Australia opted not to air the ad, saying in a statement: “The advertisement has been produced in South Africa – KFC Australia is very sensitive to the situation in Australia and this is not the type of ad we would choose to show here.”
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